20 years on: Blink 182 – Take Off Your Pants And Jacket

Twenty years has past and much has changed for Blink 182, yet much has remained the same. The San Diego natives steadily acknowledged they cannot remain luddites of the same dick-and-fart-joke routine, they were once the main proprietors of at turn of the millennium; however, their ear for catchy choruses and maintaining a cult-like following has remained unscathed.

The 2001 release of Take Of Your Pants And Jacket, was the crest of the wave in blink 182’s discography, with the album selling over 14 million copies worldwide. Following up from the band’s iconic 1999 album, Enema Of The State, Take Of Your Pants And Jacket is a quintessential pop punk classic, filled to the brim with angst, nursery rhyme riffs and power chords. The album forged an instant connection with the its-okay-not-to-be-okay kids of the time. For many people, this album will awaken floods of memories, and certainly take them back to simpler times of diminished responsibilities. The band were the Du Jour for skateboard-loving adolescent misfits.

The sound of the album was very much of its time in pop punk history; a sound that decayed only a few years later. However, Blink 182 were the biggest beneficiaries and flagship artist of the genre’s style. Although the sound of the album is a sound of days gone by, it does not feel dated and the production quality is high. The LP is more than listenable and somewhat endearing, albeit cringeworthy at times.

The songs on the album – at a basic level – can be categorised into three types of songs: angsty; love; and dumb-fuck stupid – thankfully, most fall into the former two categories. Album opener, Anthem Part Two, explored more mature themes than all previous Blink 182 album submissions. The angsty chorus – blaming parents for life’s misfortunes – is perfectly poised at Blink 182’s target demographic – teenagers. Although blaming parents for life’s woes is not a mature subject matter, per se, Blink 182’s delivery is powerful and believable. Had the same song appeared on a previous album, the lyrical content might have been less informed and more juvenile. Although the musicianship of Anthem Part Two is basic, it’s interesting and impactful enough to remain memorable.

Second single, First Date, is a divisive number. Love it or hate, it’s catchy; Tom DeLonge possesses this innate ability to create infectious choruses. Plus, almost any teenager can relate to the awkward subject matter of the unparalleled anxiety of going on a first date. In a similar vein, Story Of A Lonely Guy was a great track, with the band open-heartedly expressing their vulnerability in affairs of the heart.     

The Rock Show was the leading single on the album, and was a sensible choice. The coverage this track had on MTV2 and radio stations was ridiculous. The mastery of the song was its simplicity and relatability. Blink 182 have this clever knack of allowing the listener to, more-or-less, be completely familiar with the chorus after first listen. The Rock Show was no exception, and it’s a song that will instantly slap a smile on your face.   

Mid-way through the album sits Stay Together For The Kids, a track that is often cited as the point when Blink 182 ‘got serious’. Its scale-based opening riff and thunderous chorus compliment this number flawlessly, and works well to magnify the depressing lyrical content. The main riff conjures a sense of sadness, whereas the chorus elicits anger and opposition. Stay Together For the Kids is perhaps Blink 182’s angsty magnum opus, showcasing the vocal talent of Hoppus and Delonge.     

Towards the end of the album, Every Time I Look For You, will instantly remind fans of American Pie 2. Blink 182 offered songs to both the first and second American Pie releases. However, although a decent offering, it’s forgettable. Reckless Abandon was also another strong enough offering, but lacked the je ne sais quoi of radio-worthy pop punk.  There are certainly a few filler tracks on this album – think Roller Coaster – however, the strength of the album’s singles and several other gems, are enough to carry it. Also, most of the subpar tracks are circa three minutes in length, meaning that it isn’t long before the listener is rewarded with a more palatable audio reprieve. 

Take Off Your Pants And Jacket encapsulated enough of the immature Tomfoolery ethos of Enema Of The State to maintain momentum with current fans, but is peppered more mature themes, likely reflecting the maturity of the band, who were fast approaching their thirties. A band in their thirties can’t solely rely on juvenile toilet humour and euphemisms, right? Saying that, NOFX are in their mid-fifties now…


Skip to: Anthem Part Two (although, it is the first track)

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